The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Louis Moses Mendy, speaking to journalists on Thursday revealed that, to eliminate double shift for schools in the country, MoBSE would need an investment of D2.5 billion.
However, he reiterated that presently MoBSE is operating a policy of 2016-2030 and in that policy, there are lots of interesting areas of goals and objectives set not only as a ministry or sector but as a country.
Giving few examples that could change the dynamics needed to embrace quality education in the country, PS Mendy said could be teacher pupil ratio: meaning how many students a teacher should be exposed to or interact with.
The other, he said, could be contact hours: meaning how long would the teacher (s) and students interact in a school day. He pointed out that in most of the countries that people reference from, school starts from 8am to 4pm and in some cases to 5pm.
“If we want that contact time to exist in this country, what we need to do is to eliminate the double shift.” According to the 2016-2030 policy, MoBSE wants to eliminate double shift by 2030.
Highlighting the means and statistics to eliminate the double shift in the schools, PS Mendy said: “If we want to eliminate double shift and opt to cater for students in the lower basic without anyone staying out of school, in terms of furniture and classrooms it’ll cost us D1.5 billion.”
He added that if the same is to be done for the upper and senior secondary basic schools, it would cost MoBSE over D900,000.00 million. He said combining the two, an investment of D2.5B would be needed to be able to eliminate the double shift in the country’s basic cycle education.
According to him, even if the money is available today, the space will become another problem. “We want to put up a school in Bundung but we are struggling for a place, the same with Jeshwang, Ebo Town and even Latrikunda.”
He continued: “As a cause of the above, we are compelled to demolish some of the earlier structures to put upstairs to be able to accommodate. He said if there was no double shift system in the country, there would have been over hundred thousand students and pupils in the streets without any school.
On the capacity of teachers, he disclosed that presently the country has about 24,000 teaching staff across the country both public and private. He said if the country should eliminate the double shift, then an additional three thousand teachers would be needed in the system to be able to cater for those classes.
“As a sector, we are aware of the plight of the Gambians and we are very glad that we’ve seen some interest being placed on education, but we would have been happier that those people who have interest in education engage with the sector to enhance them; have the correct and accurate data to be able to circulate.”